State awaits Maradona’s second coming - The New Indian Express

State awaits Maradona’s second coming

Published: 14th November 2012 09:08 AM

Last Updated: 14th November 2012 10:32 AM

The passion that Diego Maradona’s whirlwind trip to Kerala whipped up last month has barely died down. If everything goes as per the plan of Chemmanur International Jewellers Group chairman Boby Chemmanur, Maradona is slated for another visit to Kerala in 2013, this time for footballing reasons.

 Buoyed by the enormous response to his first ever visit to ‘God’s Own Country’, the Chemmanur group is planning to conduct a football tournament in the name of the Argentine legend next season.

Named the Boby Chemmanur-Maradona Football Tournament, the event will bring the charismatic superstar to the state within a year, Chemmanur told Express. “Maradona has agreed to come to Kerala next year and is keen to help in the development of football here,” he said.

“He is also fine with holding a football tournament in his name. During his last visit, he was overwhelmed by the response from the fans here. He said he never expected so much passion for football and support for him in Kannur,” he added.

 The details of the tournament, such as the teams involved and the canvas of the competition are yet to be worked out. “We will hold further discussions with Maradona before deciding on the format of the tournament. We are also in touch with the Kerala Football Association. Options like holding a national or state level inter-club tournament are being explored. The possibility of organising an exhibition match involving Maradona is also open,” Chemmanur said.

Confirming that such a proposal was being worked upon, Kerala Football Association secretary P Anil Kumar welcomed the initiative. “It is a positive development for Kerala football that the Chemmanur group is ready to invest in the game. KFA is happy to associate with any project aimed at developing the game. We have made a few suggestions regarding the conduct of the tournament. Discussions are in progress,” he said.

 ‘El Diego’, owner of the most celebrated left foot in football history, had captivated Kerala with his inimitable personality on his two-day visit, on October 23 and 24. Fans had joined in with fervour as Maradona, enjoying a massive following in the football-crazy state, celebrated his 52nd birthday in advance at the Jawahar Municipal Stadium in Kannur before leaving for Dubai.

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